Dan Einzig, founder of innovative brand agency Mystery, gives us his top ten tips for establishing a strong eCommerce brand.
Branding is a way of defining your business, both to yourself and your team and also to your external audiences. It could be called the business’s ‘identity’, but only on the understanding that the identity embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like.
Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.
Here are 10 tips on how to successfully implement branding for your business:
1. Start by defining your brand
Review the products or service your business offers, pinpoint the space in the market it occupies and research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your customers. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.
2. When building your brand, think of it like a person
Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of stories, beliefs, values and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with.
Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course for people it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.
3. Consider what is driving your business
What does it believe in, what is its purpose and who are its brand heroes. These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.
4. Build long term relationships with your customers.
Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding – be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day.
5. Your brand should always speak with a consistent tone of voice
It will help reinforce the business’s character and clarify its offering so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.
6. Don’t be obsessed with consistency
Repeating the same message in the same way over and over again. Alternatively, aim to make your key messages work together to build a coherent identity.
7. Don’t try to mimic the look of big brands
Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market.
Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how feel about themselves.
8. Be innovative, bold and daring
Stand for something you believe in. Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy, preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever-changing needs of their customers.
Those layers of decision makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding.
9. Consider branding when communicating to your customer base
Don’t lose your pride or dilute your brand positioning with indiscriminate discounting. Try offering more, rather than slashing prices. Promotions are an opportunity to reinforce your brand mission.
10. The old way was to stamp your logo on everything
The future of branding is fluid and engaging – respecting your customers’ intelligence by not giving everything away up front.
Use Mystery to generate some intrigue and allow them to unearth more about your brand for themselves. This is the way to foster ambassadors who revel in telling other people what they have discovered.